Neymar Jr will be locking horns with former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi in the final of the 2021 Copa America on Sunday. It’s set to be a fantastic battle between two of the best players on the planet currently.
Lionel Messi and Argentina defeated Colombia on penalties (3-2) in the semifinals with some heroic goalkeeping from Emiliano Martinez. On the other hand, Brazil won 1-0 against Peru with a goal from Lucas Paqueta.
Both Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr have been the standout players in the tournament so far. While Neymar Jr has gathered 5G/A so far, Messi has 8G/A. Brazil are the defending champions of Copa America.
Speaking ahead of the final Neymar Jr spoke candidly about his friendship with Lionel Messi and how he’s the best player in the world. Neymar also said that in such matches there is no friendship involved.
“Messi is, as I’ve always said, the best player I’ve ever seen play and he’s a great friend, but now we’re in a final, we’re rivals. I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America,” said Neymar Jr.
“Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That’s what I’ve been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final when he faced Germany.
“Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win. When you’re friends with someone, it’s hard to forget the friendship you have – but for example, when you play video games with a friend, you want to beat him anyway. It’ll be the same thing on Saturday,” he added.